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Confronting Jew-hate, support for Israel top of mind in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg

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A synagogue, a bus shelter and supporting Jews, and a public school were all targeted by antisemites in the Greater Toronto Area. (Image: Rafi Yablonski/Facebook)

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Jewish voters tense as GTA awash in Jew-hate

As one pundit stated, “Trudeau’s recent National Summit to combat antisemitism is sure bearing fruit.”

The Greater Toronto Area was hit by antisemitic incidents on even the first day of the campaign, and candidates there and to the east saw for themselves that the world’s oldest hate is fast becoming a serious problem for Canadian voters.

On the morning of August 15 as the election call dawned, Jewish baseball league players were greeted by a huge swastika carved into the sand at Harding Park in Richmond Hill, sending York police into action. The next day, Charlton Public School in Thornhill was defaced by obscene graffiti and swastikas, and a vehicle in a parking garage in midtown Toronto was labeled with swastikas.

On Wednesday August 18 the United Grassroots Movement discovered a bus shelter ad for their awareness campaign, #NOHATE Against Jews, was defaced with Islamist propaganda – “Free Palestine” and “Zionists aren’t Jews.” The day after, it was the misfortune of the Beth Shalom Synagogue in Toronto to be targeted with a swastika and other markings. More trouble was brewing for this coming weekend, as a “Bikers For Palestine” ride was slated to rumble through Jewish neighborhoods on Saturday. Opponents mobilized the community, promising to stop it “by any means necessary”, and on Wednesday the organizers of the rally announced it was “postponed”.

In the prominent Toronto Facebook group Everything Jewish Toronto, an activist posted angrily, “Where is #BnaiBrith and #CIJA on this? Why is this kind of intimidation allowed at anytime? This is of course being done intentionally on Shabbat! This is harassment of the Jewish community must stop! Where is the #TorontoPolice on this? Where is #JohnTory on this? We all know that all the shortcuts from and to Yorkdale go through our Jewish neighbourhoods! We need to hear right now, from all our Jewish leadership in Toronto! #michaelmostyn, #avibenlolo. Enough is enough! We’re all fed up! Stop the Jew Hatred now!”

Jews have been the number one victims of hate crimes in the GTA for 13 years, according to Toronto Police. 

Candidates In GTA, New Brunswick, Montreal Feel Antisemitism Firsthand

In the York region on August 24, Tony Van Bynen, Liberal candidate for Newmarket-Aurora, posted photographs showing a swastika along with the word “NAZIS” written in spray paint on about 10 of his signs. Signs for Leah Taylor Roy, the Liberal candidate for Aurora–Oak Ridges–Richmond Hills, suffered similar treatment. In a joint statement they declared, “We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and strongly condemn these vile displays of hatred. Hate in any form has no place in our communities or anywhere in Canada.”

Another occurrence this week in Sackville, NB involved the Nazi swastika being used to attack a political campaign of another very not-Jewish Liberal cabinet minister, Dominic Leblanc. The marking was accompanied by the phrase “Covid Nazi” spray-painted over his name. Online, B’nai Brith commented, “Whatever you think of a party’s COVID policy, the use of Nazi symbolism is abhorrent and must stop.”

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In Montreal, the campaign signs of two Liberal incumbent MPs, Anthony Housefather and Rachel Bendayan, got the swastika treatment- by one account, at least a dozen times. On her Twitter account, Bendayan immediately declared the vandalism originated with “the far right”.

“Whatever your political views, spreading hateful and violent messages is not the way to go. We’ve seen the road that the politics of the far right leads us to in the US and around the world,” Bendayan tweeted to her 5900 followers. 

In response, a voter from Winnipeg sharply rebuked her assumption and for support of the Trudeau record.

“@RachelBendayan I’ve seen the road where politics of the far left leads us, by living under Trudeau and the Liberal party. It curtails freedom and fears freedom of speech. It pays off the media. Your party is divisive, wasteful, and corrupt.” 

Conservative hopeful says antisemitism “escalating at an alarming rate”

Melissa Lantsman, the high-profile CPC candidate in Thornhill, described the vandalism of the election signs of Housefather and Bendayan “Absolutely disgusting.”

She told TheJ.ca that voters in her riding “have experienced both the quiet and loud antisemitism and the reductionist opinions of those who fuel Jewish hatred under the guise of anti-Zionism. There are serious concerns about safety in our communities. While we’ve always had to face antisemitism, it’s been escalating at an alarming rate. It’s raised almost daily in our community, and I’ve heard time and time again that the Canadian government isn’t doing enough to prevent Jew-hatred.” 

Lanstman was part of the grassroots effort that raised the money for 80 bus shelter ads and similar installations, including those defaced last week.

“I understand that cars driving around Jewish neighborhoods in a Canadian city harassing Jews on the streets, statements from elected MPs demonizing the Jewish state and calling for boycotts are frightening – but they also are unacceptable. The community has every right to demand better from their government.”  She assailed what she claimed is “the Liberal Party’s ignorance of antisemitism within their ranks”, believing that it makes people question “whether Canada’s Jewish community are important to this government or whether the government has determined that the Jewish vote no longer matters.”

Asked what actions an O’Toole-led government would take, she responded, “The police, Crown prosecutors and the judiciary need to know how to spot antisemitism in all its different forms. We can’t keep leaving this issue to the Human Rights Commissions when they’ve proven that they are unable to effectively stop it. It has to be part of the rule of law. On a more individual level, we need people to understand that anti-Zionism is antisemitism. The IHRA definition must be applied in holding those who propagate Jew hatred in all its forms.”

Carrying the Conservative banner in Thornhill in her quest to retain the seat for her party, Melissa Lantsman said she is hearing “serious concerns about safety in our communities.” (Photo: Facebook)

Zionists in Winnipeg urged to turf Liberals

When the campaign launched in Manitoba, two Jewish MP’s spoke to the Winnipeg Free Press about how pandemic fears were altering their re-election campaigning.

In the inner-city riding of Winnipeg Centre, Leah Gazan was going to rely more than usual on the old-fashioned telephone to get her message to voters, and less on traditional door-knocking despite being fully vaccinated herself.  “I think it’s unfortunate that the Liberal government has decided to call an unnecessary snap election in the middle of a pandemic with the risk of a fourth wave we’re seeing in other parts of the country… I think it was a poor decision by the federal government.”

Gazan said she had personally sought advice from Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, to ensure her campaign on the hustings was deemed covid-compliant. “I will be wearing a mask. I will be stepping back up from the door, even though I’m double vaccinated. I want to make sure that I can do this as safely as possible.”

Conservative incumbent Marty Morantz agreed with Gazan that, “This is a completely unnecessary and unwarranted election that nobody wants,” as he and his team walked the riding of Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley, masks on face and pamphlets in hand. 

“We need a government that really means it when they say that they support and stand with Israel,” wrote Sandy Shindleman to voters in Winnipeg South Centre, urging them to replace the Trudeau Liberal incumbent with Conservative hopeful Joyce Bateman on September 20. (Photo: Courtesy)

The campaigns of both Morantz and Joyce Bateman, a former Tory MP seeking to recapture Winnipeg South Centre, were hoping the early and emphatic pledge by leader Erin O’Toole that a CPC government would move the Canadian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would boost their respective support with Jewish voters.

Bateman got another boost when a leading businessman and philanthropist send out a letter to riding mailboxes reminding Jewish voters that “The Trudeau Liberals welcomed former Green Party member Jennica Atwin into the Liberal caucus, someone who has made openly antisemitic and anti-Israel comments.”

Sandy Shindleman, chair of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism, stated “We are at a  crossroads. Antisemitism is on the rise… we need a new Canadian government to ensure that our community is protected.”

He cited the Trudeau government voting at the UN against Israel as reason to support O’Toole and specifically cited Bateman as “a long-standing supporter of Israel (who) has been a good friend to our community.” Bateman is contesting the riding against Liberal cabinet member and longtime Jewish community leader, Jim Carr, although Shindleman did not mention Carr by name.

Shindleman concluded his letter, “We cannot risk having Justin Trudeau in power in these times.”

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Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

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Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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